Poland celebrates Epiphany with the Three Kings’ procession
On January 6, feast of the Epiphany, the procession of the Three Kings was held in 668 locations in Poland, from large cities such as Warsaw and Krakow to small villages. This Spanish Catholic tradition began in the Slavic country in 2009, when the Three Kings Parade Foundation organized a modest procession through the streets of the capital.
Headed by a star and accompanied by a large group of the faithful singing Christmas carols, the retinue of the Three Kings proceeds to the central square of each city, where the nativity scene with the Holy Family is located. There the Magi pay homage to the Child Jesus, followed by whole families who come forward to honour Him. In some municipalities, four processions take place, led by the Holy Family or by one of the Magi. Departing from different parishes, they all converge to the square where the nativity scene is located.
During the procession, groups of children dressed as angels or demons perform a theatrical skit representing the struggle between good and evil.
Vietnamese priest murdered in confessional
The brutal murder of forty-one-year-old Dominican priest Fr. Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh in the mountain village of Dak Mot, in the Kon Tum Diocese of Vietnam, before the evening Mass on January 29, has caused deep consternation. He was stabbed in the local church while attending one of the faithful in Confession.
“This is the most tragic death of a priest since the end of the war,” the Order of Preachers said in a statement. Vietnam is on the list of the twenty most unsafe countries in the world for Christians.
Public recitation of the Rosary increasing in France
France Prays is the name of a movement of Catholic lay people that aims to promote and increase the recitation of the Rosary in public places in this European nation.
The initiative, which began in Austria in November 2021 and quickly spread to other countries, consists in praying the Rosary, alone or in groups, in front of a depiction of Calvary, a cross or religious statue displayed in a public place, preferably at 6pm on Wednesdays. By the beginning of February, more than two thousand three hundred Rosaries had already been prayed in France.
According to organizers, this initiative arose to “entrust our country, which is currently undergoing one of the most serious social crises in its history, to the protection of the Blessed Virgin, and to implore Her to come to the aid of our people.”
Religious book sales on the rise in Brazil
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazilians seem to have rediscovered the habit of reading… This is what data released by the National Book Publishers Union indicates, showing a 29.3% increase in book sales in Brazil in 2021. In all, more than fifty-five million books were sold over the course of the year.
According to the union’s president, Dante Cid, religious books are one of the categories that rose above the average number of sales achieved by other reading genres.
Grave sacrilege against Holy Eucharist in Paris
In mid-January Fr. Simon Fornier de Violet, vicar of Holy Spirit Parish in Paris, denounced the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament that occurred before his eyes during a Sunday Mass.
The priest recounted that, during the distribution of Holy Communion, a man extended his hand to receive the Sacred Host, but instead of placing it in his mouth, he raised the particle to the height of his face and crushed it, breaking it into small pieces, before throwing it to the ground. “The act was, therefore, deliberate and premeditated. His hands were slightly swollen, with some wounds, like someone accustomed to excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs. He was, however, fully conscious,” said Fr. Fornier.
Having collected what he could of the particles, the priest decided to form a procession with the Host at the end of Mass. Days later, a Eucharist was celebrated in the parish in reparation for the offense against God. Fr. Fornier “commented that “the Body of Christ is the treasure of the Church,” and recalled that to profane the Blessed Sacrament is the most serious sacrilege that can be committed.
Statue of Our Lady survives fire in Colorado
At the end of last year, the State of Colorado in the United States was ravaged by terrible forest fires that devastated more than a thousand houses, forcing around thirty-five thousand people to flee their homes. The tragedy is considered the worst of its kind in the history of the state.
In the midst this desolate scenario, the Archdiocese of Denver shared on social media a photo of a statue of Our Lady of Graces, in the city of Louisville, which remained standing among the ruins of buildings devoured by fire. The fact can be seen as a beautiful sign of the omnipotent intercession of Her who is the Comforter of the Afflicted and the Mother of Divine Grace.
Blessed statue of “Santo Niño de Atocha”
On Christmas Day, patronal feast day of the Plateros shrine, the monumental statue of Santo Niño de Atocha, 7.1 metres in height, was blessed. The statue is erected on Cerro de la Santa Cruz in the municipality of Fresnillo in Mexico. The blessing took place after the Mass celebrated by Bishop Sigifredo Noriega Barceló, Bishop of Zacatecas, after which the prelate and the mayor of the city ascended the hill, where many faithful were waiting.
The site was previously occupied by the machines warehouse for the mining labour of the region, and in the 1970s a chapel to Santo Niño de Atocha was erected there. Since then, the inhabitants of the surrounding area have turned to the Divine Infant to implore the salvation of many workers who were trapped in the mines.
Shrine desecrated in Costa Rica
Continuing the current worldwide wave of religious vandalism, the day after the feast of the Holy Christ of Esquipulas, celebrated on January 15, an unidentified person broke into the national shrine dedicated to Him in Santa Cruza, Costa Rica, with the intention of stealing the collection money.
Despite the damage caused to the church, the crucifix of the Holy Christ of Esquipulas was not defaced because it was stored in a safe place after the end of the church’s religious activities. Nevertheless, among the objects vandalized was the sacred image’s display case, which was destroyed and thrown to the ground.
Jubilee Year in honour of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
The Archbishop of Mexico City and Cardinal Primate of the country, Most Rev. Carlos Aguiar Retes, has decreed a Jubilee Year in honour of St. Juan Diego, seer and messenger of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for the twentieth anniversary of his canonization and the four hundred and ninety years since the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. The announcement was made on December 9 of last year, the Saint’s feast day, and the special period of grace will extend until the same date this year.
With the proper dispositions and conditions, the faithful who visit the Parish of Santa Maria de Guadalupe on certain days may gain a plenary indulgence for themselves or for the faithful departed. Those who perform works of piety or charity organized by the same parish may also gain a partial indulgence.
It is worth recalling the conditions established by Holy Church for obtaining indulgences: Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. Moreover, the rejection of all attachment to sin, even venial, is required.